Unhelpful Piece Of Criticism
A devastated 7-year-old walked came home from school. Trying to hide his tears from his parents, but they saw right through that and all but begged him to share what was upsetting him so badly.
The 2nd grader attempted to shrug it off but eventually, he pulled a piece of paper out of his school bag. It would be the clue that held all the answers.
Just A Regular Kid
Young Kamdyn Piland was just your regular school kid. According to his parents, he wasn’t an overachiever but he also wasn’t a naughty or bad child. He wasn’t particularly hyperactive nor was he addicted to video games and TV.
So it came as a complete surprise when he was so upset by something that happened at school that day. After studying the note written on the test paper, Kamdyn’s father got rather upset himself. The more he read it the angrier he became, and with good reason too.
At A Regular School
Kamdyn had been going to Valley View Elementary School for a while now, and there had never been a problem with the completely ordinary public school. All that changed when he was promoted to 2nd grade.
Suddenly Kamdyn’s parents were getting an unusual amount of negative feedback about their child. Wondering if there was something brewing at school, Chris decided to probe a bit further.
Struggling In School
It’s no secret that pretty much all children loathe doing homework when there are friends to visit and games to play after the school day has ended. Kamdyn was no different and his parents chalked this up to being a normal school kid.
That is until he started falling behind in his assignments. This sudden change only began when he was well into grade 2 and it was difficult for his parents to watch him struggling in his academic life. But what was the cause behind it all?
Way Too Harsh
Chris knew his kid was well up to the challenge that second grade presented and that he was finding it so difficult sent alarm bells ringing in his head. To him, it seemed completely out of character for Kamdyn to be failing at school.
When he came home with a piece of criticism from Alyssa Rupp Bohenek, his teacher, his father realized that it may have something to do with the teacher. His gut instinct would prove to be completely right.
We have all had that teacher that no one and nothing seems to please. And while some students seem to have thick skin and do well in their class, not everyone is so lucky — especially the children that are soft-hearted and unsure. Kamdyn had exactly this kind of teacher.
Ms. Alyssa Bohenek had a reputation at the school already and she seemed to have it out for poor Kamdyn. The constant negative criticism was having a bad effect on the boy’s self-esteem and confidence, but he kept it all to himself.
Addressing Bad Grades
Every parent wishes that their kid will be great at school, so when you hear that that is not the case at all it can be very upsetting.
There are various steps that a parent can take to get grades back up, such as extra lessons, tutoring, spending more time supervising the child while doing homework and generally being more hands-on. One thing that has been proven not to work is giving the old ‘tough love’ approach, especially at such a young age.
Constructive Criticism Please
Even adults will find negative feedback to be draining. We accept that there will come a time when one has to deal with it, but it is always more helpful when such criticism is given in a constructive or professional way.
Getting criticized for kicks will always deal a huge blow to the confidence and self-esteem of an individual. Can you just imagine how much more it would hurt a child when it is given by an authority figure?
Living As A Mentor
Teaching younger children is a completely different ball game to teaching anyone else. It’s not just about standing up and talking at people hoping that they are listening to you. You have to be fully engaged with each and every student.
Teach them how to learn effectively, and of course, how to be a good role model and mentor. Chris didn’t feel that his son’s teacher was living up to these standards at all if she thought those kinds of criticizing comments were helping the students.
Only Made Things Worse
No one can blame a parent for getting upset with the type of comment that was left on Kamdyn’s maths test. Not only was it completely out of line, but clearly it made Kamdyn feel really awful too, and no one likes their child hurting.
The note that the teacher left for the 7-year-old was this: “Absolutely pathetic! He answered 13 in 3 minutes! Sad!” Chris knew that his son would not be inspired by this bullying, it would, in fact, only make things worse. Whatever happened to constructive criticism?
A Recurring Problem
The problem was that this comment was not the first that this teacher had left Kamdyn, and it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. For Chris, it was the last straw and he intended to do something about it.
He took insult from how the messages were right from the beginning of the year. It was time to confront this nasty teacher.
Taking To Facebook
It’s the go-to action that a lot of people take – posting a worry or thought on social media. A lot of the time is because we can get so close to the issues that we can’t see them clearly anymore. Chris wanted an opinion on this situation.
What he wasn’t expecting was to have such a large impact. Chris began by just stating the facts along with a picture of his son holding up the offending test paper. He was sure that everyone would agree with him.
His Viral Post
Chris was absolutely amazed at how the post took on a life of its own, racking up thousands of reactions, comments, and shares. It seemed that a lot of people felt really passionately about what happens in the classroom. How children and treated and what skills a teacher should have.
He felt significantly better that his gut instinct was right and he hadn’t been overreacting at all. Almost everyone disapproved of the harsh words that the teacher left on the piece of paper.
A Teacher’s Responsibility
Teaching is not known for being an easy job, it’s far more challenging than standing in front of a class and talking. Every child learns differently and it is the responsibility of the teacher to find out how each child learns so that they can succeed in school and later on in life too.
Leaving harsh comments seemed to Chris like this teacher wasn’t teaching his son how to learn, she was taking the easy way out and putting the blame of his son.
No One Likes Negativity
No one likes to work in a negative environment. Take yourself for instance, if your boss was constantly on your case no matter how hard you worked you would very soon lose your passion for your job and quit.
But Kamdyn still had so many fundamental things to learn, new abilities, skills, and tasks to take with him in the future. Quitting wasn’t an option. This teacher had to understand that learning is most effective when it is carried out in a creative yet inspiring way.
Launching A Petition
Chris was glad that he was getting so much validation from his little facebook post, but then things took a turn for the worst. He couldn’t believe it but all the strangers that had rallied behind him had started a kind of movement of their own.
Someone had even taken it so far that there was now a petition online calling for Bohenek to keep her job. It was great that people felt so strongly but Chris never implied that he wanted her fired.
Endangering Her Career
The situation became serious now. Ms. Bohenek could lose her job because of a mean comment. She needed to protect herself against the angry group of people on social media that kept on growing.
Chris was still so angry over the whole incident that he still couldn’t sympathize with her.
Amazingly the petition was tallying up an unusually high number of signatures. Already over 10,000 people wanted the teacher to keep her job. Even the teachers at her school took a stand on Ms. Bohenek’s behalf saying she did not deserve to be fired at all.
Even though little Kamdyn went on to say, “She made me really sad and upset. I was really mad. And [it was] really mean to do.”
“You don’t write that on anybody’s paper, let alone a little 7-year-old, second grader’s paper. It said on the top of it that he answered only 13 of them in 3 minutes and that it was absolutely pathetic with a sad face”. “It broke my heart,” Chris said as he spoke to more and more papers and TV stations.
He was still absolutely furious about the whole ordeal. “I believe what you wrote on his paper was extremely unprofessional and just very rude and she messaged me back and said she was sorry I felt that way,” he explained.
Punished Not Fired
Everyone agreed that the teacher had indeed done something wrong, but should she be fired for it? It seemed a very harsh punishment for something that a firm talking to could change.
The school felt like she only had to be reprimanded for what she did. They thought that it was too much to fire her for this. Teachers, parents, and other adults are those who mold these little kids into what they’re going to be in the future. The school decided to look further into the matter and make sure justice is served. Chris posted an update and said, “Thanks to all the efforts and support of the dedicated people who signed and shared this petition, I’m happy to announce that the teacher in question is currently being investigated by the Valley View school board.”
According to a news outlet, school superintendent Rose Minniti has become aware of the remarks written on the assignment. After having a meeting with the Valley View School District and the teacher, an investigation had begun. As a response to the media, Minniti said, “As always with everything, we’re going to try to do what’s best for the students and what we need to do for the employee under investigation”.
Speaking to the same news outlet, she said, “It’s a personnel issue and the results of that are not going to be dictated by social media. It’s going to be dictated by the facts and evidence.”